The Solution to the Authoritarian Right Wing is Not the Authoritarian Left but Libertarianism

The answer to right-wing authoritarianism is not more authoritarianism only with a softer face

The Western World is still recoiling at, but fascinated by, the horrors of World War II. Consistent with Francis Fukuyama’s Great Pendulum Theory, we have been looking for solutions to the problems of life that led us into World War II and this has pushed us to the far-left. This essay will argue that the solution to the excesses of the authoritarian right is not authoritarian leftism but libertarianism.

The authoritarian left can be found crying crocodile tears over all kinds of suffering that it blames on the right, in the hope that they can gather more power as a result of the ensuing outrage. Characteristic of the authoritarian left is that they make the same critiques of capitalism and verticalised social structures as the libertarian left, but they offer radically different solutions.

Instead of more freedom for good people, the authoritarian left seeks less freedom for bad people. It sounds like it should lead to similar results, but it doesn’t. Less freedom for good people is one obvious side-effect, but this is considered merely a bit of collateral damage. Those who lose out will understand that such measures were necessary for the sake of the greater good – and if they don’t understand this we will force them to.

Another flaw of the authoritarian left is their bloodlust for punishing those who they consider to have transgressed the moral code. In this sense, the authoritarian left is no less vicious than the authoritarian right, only they purport to brutally punish people to further an agenda of horizontalism instead of one of verticalism. Anyone who tries to elevate one person or group above another is to be ripped down.

Right now, the wet dream of all authoritarian leftists is control of public speech, especially on social media. There is nothing that they would like more than to bring in “hate speech” laws governing social media discourse, so that anyone who expressed a politically incorrect sentiment would be harassed by the Police. Their logic is that if the people were forbidden from expressing certain dangerous ideas then those ideas would become less widespread, thereby dispelling the danger.

The real problem with authoritarian leftism is that the people promoting it are also promoting authoritarian solutions, which tend to mutate back into authoritarian rightism before anyone realises it. As mentioned above, the authoritarian leftists tend to make accurate and fair criticisms of right-wing policy – the problem arises when their recommended response to those criticisms is to centralise more power in their own hands.

The real solution to the problems of the authoritarian right is libertarianism, whether of the left or the right variety. That some on the libertarian left are unwilling to concede this point is a real danger. If the libertarian left is unwilling to co-operate with the libertarian right to oppose authoritarian solutions, they will find the authoritarians co-operating to split the libertarians in half.

Currently, there is a large risk that the extreme, authoritarian right will come back to prominence as a consequence of the social unrest brought about by mass Third World immigration into the West, especially Europe.

The authoritarian left’s solution to this problem is to “stop bigotry” by cracking down on what they deem “hate speech”. Because the dogma has it that all human groups are precisely equal in all ways, any economic disparity between one group and another must come from the malicious efforts of the wealthy group to undermine and impoverish the poor one. Therefore, Third Worlders can only be poor and violent because of prejudice, which must then be stamped out.

The problem with this is, if and when the authoritarian right comes back into power, they will have all these hate speech laws already on the books and a population conditioned to accept gross abuses of state power in the service of some spurious link to a greater good. They might even have – worst of all – a population desperate for change, baying for blood and with hate speech laws on the books. Then it’s a simple matter of adjusting the definition of hate to “speech against nation/race/ruler” and we have another genocide on our hands.

Beating the authoritarian right will require that we intelligently encourage avenues of freedom that take people away from the left-authoritarian/right-authoritarian cycle. If we love freedom more than we love our own delusions that we can perfect the world by force, then we can accept that working towards libertarianism is a worthwhile goal, regardless of whether it’s left or right in form.

This will require that the ruling powers guarantee the cognitive liberty of the people. In particular this means to keep the Internet free, to keep artistic expression unrestricted, to keep the press free and to refuse all punitive forms of drug prohibition.

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VJMP Reads: David Seymour’s Own Your Future III

A Liberal Vision for New Zealand in 2017

This reading carries on from here.

The second chapter of Own Your Future is titled ‘Tax’. Seymour opens with a complaint about wasteful government spending, citing the example of Gerry Brownlee flying to San Francisco on the taypayer’s dollar for a photo op. Indeed this was an appalling waste of money for no benefit to the nation, but Seymour leaps from this fact to the tacit assumption that all tax money is likewise wasted.

Seymour is right when he says it’s stupid that the Government is running surpluses while the average New Zealand household is at record levels of debt. The solution is, naturally, lower taxes. Here Seymour makes a sharp distinction between “our own” money, and “another person’s” money. Not for him the interdependence of all things. In Seymour’s world, there are very clear lines over who owns what.

Government takes in taxes equal to 40% of GDP, Seymour notes – “exclusively” another person’s money. Seymour doesn’t agree with the idea that the state is the most efficient provider of many services on account of the economies of scale afforded by its unique size. For him, the Government is merely a parasitic entity that sucks tax money out of hard-working Kiwis and wastes it frivolously.

Breaking step with the usual neoliberal choice of target, Seymour points out that there is a tremendous amount of corporate welfare in New Zealand as well. This only lasts for a few sentences, because he’s soon back to crying about taxation. Bracket creep comes in for particular ire – for Seymour, the wealthy aren’t getting a big enough share of the spoils of economic growth.

True to being a politician, he is dishonest. He claims that bracket creep happens because wages rise (which is true) but he also claims that wages rise to meet the increase in the price of consumer goods. The truth is that wages are not linked to the inflation of consumer goods – they are a function of the relative leverage that the employer has over the employee. When consumer goods become more expensive, this gives the employee absolutely no additional leverage through which they can negotiate a higher wage with their employer. If anything, it gives them less leverage because the lower standard of living makes them more desperate to settle.

In one paragraph, Seymour abandons even the pretense of reasoning and simply lists American libertarian slogans: “High tax rates… drag the economy down”, “people spend their money better than governments do”, “Money goes more good in the private sector than in the public sector.” Again one senses the cold shadow of the millions starved to death by Communism.

Seymour makes some good and fair points when he talks about the bureaucratic waste in the system. The problem is that this waste is the only thing he sees – all Government spending is hip-hop tours and junkets to San Francisco. He will not acknowledge that tax money is used for anything good, or that taxpayers get anything back for their tax money. National are the good guys because they levy less tax; Labour are bad and the Greens are the worst of all.

It’s hard to disagree, however, when he complains about the top tax bracket being $70,000. One doesn’t have to be wealthy to concede that someone earning $70,000 a year is far from loaded.

In all, one feels that Seymour is capable of making some good points but has a dishonest method for selecting and presenting them to the reader. Despite that, it’s easily arguable that Seymour and his party are tasked with playing an important role in New Zealand politics – that of keeping a check on Government waste – even though they are apologists for neoliberalism.

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VJMP Reads: David Seymour’s Own Your Future II

A Liberal Vision for New Zealand in 2017

This reading carries on from here.

The first real chapter of Own Your Future is titled ‘Housing’. The degree to which Seymour is out of touch comes through again immediately, when he states a belief that an “ordinary” New Zealand family is one that owns 50ha of land. His maths seems fair when he calculates the deficit of new houses, but it is notable where he lays the blame.

Seymour is willing to appeal to “basic economics” when he points out the factors restricting the supply of housing – in particular red tape – but basic economics does not seem to apply to the demand side of the equation. Following the neoliberal playbook closely, Seymour dismisses entirely the idea that migration could make a contribution to the increase in house prices.

His logic here is curious. New Zealand’s waves of migration “have not caused food prices to double, for example”. He is comfortable with concluding therefore that “there is no evidence that immigration has increased the price of commodities”. It’s certainly an unusually high standard for a variable to need to double a second variable before it can be said to have caused it to increase.

This line of reasoning can be explained by a study conducted by Dan McGlashan, in which he found that Asians voted for the ACT Party at higher rates than anyone else. No doubt Seymour is wary of placing any blame on immigration because that’s how most of his voters got here.

Perhaps through some effort of will, Seymour holds off on mentioning the Resource Management Act until the sixth page of the essay. This is invoked to take all the blame for rising house prices. He points out that, 30 years ago, the bottom 20% of the population paid 27% of their income in rent, whereas now they pay 54%. This is a fair comment but it’s not clear that all of the blame for this necessarily lies with the RMA.

Seymour repeats the claim that only 0.8% of the land area of New Zealand is urbanised, but doesn’t mention how this compares to other countries or who benefits from raising this percentage. How does the average Kiwi benefit from urbanising more of the country for the sake of letting in more immigrants? It isn’t said.

He goes further, pillorying the Greens’ proposal to limit immigration to an increase of 1% of the population every year. Even an immigration rate of 1% is enough to double the population of the country before the end of the century. This is very interesting if one considers that the people of New Zealand have never asked for the Government to increase the population at all, much less double it.

The most striking thing about this essay on housing is that Seymour never refers to the experience of overseas countries that have had similar housing crises. Housing in Sydney, Melbourne and London has increased in price much like Auckland – do they have RMAs constricting the supply of housing? Seymour doesn’t say. What has happened in other jurisdictions that have implemented his suggestions? He doesn’t say.

One gets the feeling from this essay that Seymour is a dedicated supporter of neoliberalism, but does not feel the need to back up his assertions with real-world examples, preferring instead to use rhetoric.

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The Key to Generating Wealth is Artificial Scarcity

Artificially restricting the common property of the masses drives up the price of private holdings of capital

Work hard, and you’ll get rich. All Westerners have been told this since we were small children – and it used to be true. Back in the days when there was natural scarcity, this made sense, because what was lacking was productive capacity. Now that human productive capacity is effectively infinite (at least when it comes to meeting physical demands), economics works on a different basis – that of artificial scarcity.

The definition of artificial scarcity is “the scarcity of items even though either the technology and production, or sharing capacity, exists to create a theoretically limitless abundance”. Many people have noted that the productive capacity already exists on Planet Earth to create a theoretically limitless abundance of most things, and the reason why we don’t already have it is a matter of politics.

Understanding artificial scarcity is a matter of understanding that every financial transaction is a matter of leverage, and that leverage is a matter of the supply of that good or service, and that the supply of any good or service is a function of its scarcity (or of the scarcity of its basic constituents).

Looked at another way, the more scarce a good or service can be made, the more desperate people will become in order to obtain that good or service, which means the purveyor of it has more leverage, and the price of that good or service will therefore increase. Once your own supply of a particular good or service is ensured, profit can be increased by restricting supply of it to everyone else.

Strangling someone to get them to give up their wallet is an example of inducing artificial scarcity, in this case a scarcity of oxygen to the brain. Understanding this extortionate power is key to understanding the whole point.

In a state of Nature, people are free to hunt and gather from the commons to which all land belongs. There is therefore no such thing as artificial scarcity, because all scarcity is natural. Today, however, because everything has been enclosed, fenced off, walled off, there are no longer any commons, and consequently there is a massive artificial scarcity of food, whether game meat or gathered fruits, nuts, berries, mushrooms etc.

This artificial scarcity of food has created immense scope for profits for the land-owning class. The masses who had their land taken must now serve those who took it in order to get enough of that wealth to live. There is such an immense scarcity of land that anyone with an enforceable claim to own it can become rich by simply charging rent, because there will always be someone with a productive enterprise that needs land on which to operate, and they will pay rent.

In other words, the people continue to work the land for sustenance as they always have done, but now that sustenance passes through an intermediary (the landowner) who takes as big of a cut as they see fit (possibly subject to anti-exploitation laws), and leaves the remainder for the workers. Thus it can be seen that artificial scarcity can arise as a form of gangsterism.

Artificial scarcity is usually defended by those who profit from it, and from the sycophantic dogs who are happy to take a slice of that profit in exchange for enforcing it on the masses. To the extent that these two groups hold power in society, artificial scarcity will exist.

Ever since the Industrial Revolution made it cheap to produce everything, those who wished to gain political and economic control over the masses switched the emphasis from helping those masses overcome natural scarcity to imposing upon them artificial scarcity. George Orwell wrote about this in 1984, when he had Emmanuel Goldstein write about how politicians need to destroy surplus production in order to keep the populace under control.

Speaking as the author of The Theory And Practice of Oligarchical Collectivism, Orwell teaches that the main motive for introducing artificial scarcity is political power. If the people have a surplus of goods and services, their standard of living will rise. As their standard of living rises, it becomes increasingly possible for motivated individuals among them to become educated and free-thinking, and, consequently, to become the sort of person who will challenge the control system.

Defending the control system, therefore, requires that the people are impoverished.

An excellent example of artificial scarcity in the modern world relates to housing. The Baby Boomer generation have realised – now that they own all the houses – that by increasing demand for those houses (through mass immigration) while simultaneously decreasing demand for them (such as refusing to build new ones or restricting access to old ones through tricks such as New Zealand’s meth house scam), they can push the younger generations into more desperation and thereby a weaker negotiating position.

Tightening the supply of housing is like tightening the grip around the throat of the young who are desperate for it – which is how the Boomers are now able to extract so much rent.

Cannabis prohibition is another good example. By artificially restricting the people’s access to cannabis, the politicians gave great leverage to their friends in the alcohol and pharmaceutical industries, who had one fewer competitor for monopoly of the recreational drug and medicine markets, respectively. The cannabis laws also have the benefit of primarily destroying black, brown, young, poor and freethinking people, which further entrenches the power hierarchy.

So getting rich isn’t about working hard anymore – it’s about getting your fingers around the throat of someone who does.

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VJMP Reads: David Seymour’s Own Your Future I

A Liberal Vision for New Zealand in 2017

Today, VJMP Reads has a look at Own Your Future, by ACT Party Leader David Seymour. This is a 192-page book of essays published by the ACT Party along the lines of previous ACT Party efforts such as Closing the Gaps and I’ve Been Thinking.

Previous VJM Publishing publications, such as Dan McGlashan’s Understanding New Zealand, tells us some basic facts about the ACT-voting demographic. Although few in number (a mere 13,075 in 2017), they were the wealthiest voter base of any party, as well as the most likely to be born overseas and one of the best educated (along with the Greens). Asians like them the most, white people the next most, and Maoris the least.

We have also seen that people who donate to the ACT Party get the worst return on their investment, with the party gaining 22 votes per $1,000 spent on the 2017 campaign. This compares to 388 votes per $1,000 for Labour, 452 for National and 4,761 for the Aotearoa Legalise Cannabis Party (even the vanity project that was The Opportunities Party managed 62 votes per $1,000 spent).

So who are ACT, in the words of their own leader?

The Introduction runs to sixteen pages, and is worth studying on its own. It starts off by telling the story of the struggles of a wealthy couple to subdivide their land. Hilariously, by the third page there’s already a reference to how, under communism, “people starved by the million”, so it’s already a fair bet at this early stage that the book will be full of far-right-wing American-style libertarianism.

On page 12, Seymour states that he grew up “not rich”, and also states that the first time he realised that the Government might not have our best interests at heart was at age sixteen. Seymour was born in 1983, which would make him around 8 years old at the time of Ruth Richardson’s infamous 1991 Budget, which ripped the heart out of the New Zealand poor. Had it not occurred to him in the aftermath of the social destruction wrought by this that the Government is not on the people’s side, then it can fairly be said that he was unusually privileged, if not actually sheltered.

In fact, the truly sheltered nature of Seymour’s life comes through in lines that would be comic genius in any other context. How else to read “Auckland Grammar is a particularly barbaric place for some kids. I vividly remember one kid getting a tennis ball to the head, it bounced lightly but its power was symbolic”?

Like most men of his time, Seymour is a materialist. He is proud to have supported liberalising the abortion laws. ACT wanted to introduce laws that would make New Zealand a better place, in Seymour’s estimation, hence his support for them. This is stated very matter-of-factly, with no explanation as to why he thought that ACT in particular were best suited to make New Zealand a better place.

Inevitably, Seymour has a go here at the eternal ACT bugbear, the Resource Management Act. He writes that the poorest fifth of New Zealanders spend almost half of their income on housing today, compared to only a quarter of their income 26 years ago. All of the blame for this can be laid at the feet of the RMA, which has strangled the rate of house building. “That’s why people are living in cars and garages.”

The obvious rejoinder to this claim is to point out that New Zealand has the highest rate of immigration of any OECD country. Seymour anticipates this, and writes of the immigration question that opinion is divided between “National’s naivete vs. the racism of New Zealand First.” Like many middle-class white people, Seymour appears to be unaware that New Zealand First’s strongest supporters are Maoris.

Seymour generally doesn’t seem bothered by anti-Maori racism, as shown by his rant about “million after million for various Maori centric projects and separatist legislation”. Racism is, perhaps, only real to Seymour when it prevents wealthy foreigners from immigrating here (after all, as noted above, Maoris don’t vote for the ACT Party).

Going by the introduction, this book seems like the closest thing to a neoliberalist manifesto New Zealand has seen recently. What Seymour appears to be about, fittingly for someone who represents foreign wealth, is freedom for money. He’s not interested in freedom for people. Freedom for people comes incidentally, in so far as those people have money.

One gets the impression that if Seymour could stuff the entire South Island into a giant machine that sorted it out into its constituent minerals for the sake of most efficiently selling it all off to foreign speculators, he would be happy to do so. This book, therefore, promises to be a journey into the mind of an absolutely fanatical die-hard neoliberal.

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Legalising Cannabis Would More Than Fix The Hole in New Zealand’s Education Budget

The Labour Party is crying loudly about the hole in the education budget, but is silent about the potential savings from repealing cannabis prohibition

Every week the Labour Party goes back on another one of its election promises, claiming that there’s much less money in the budget than anyone realised and so they won’t be able to fund anything: not education, not health, not welfare. What the criminal bullshitters in the Government don’t admit is that they could save 400 million dollars every year, starting tomorrow, simply by legalising cannabis.

The net benefits of repealing cannabis prohibition are no longer disputable. Eight US states now have fully legal cannabis, with further legalisation referendums to come, and no-one has any regrets. According to calculations by the New Zealand Treasury, this country is flushing $400,000,000 down the toilet every year in order to enforce a law that the New Zealand people do not want. That’s no small sum of money.

Education Minister Chris Hipkins has come out and said that there is a $1,100,000,000 shortfall in the education budget. The linked article cites Hipkins as claiming that “Over the next three budgets, $929m was needed to cover the cost of new schools and classrooms and to meet the cost of the Christchurch rebuild. The remaining $166m was needed for urgent remediation and demolition of classrooms and buildings that are unusable.”

In the linked article, Hipkins blames the former National-led Government for neglecting capital spending on educational buildings, claiming that Labour is not going to be able to meet its election promises as a consequence. But it’s absolutely absurd that the Labour Government is crying about funding shortfalls when it’s wasting such an incredible amount of money on conducting a War on Drugs against the New Zealand people.

According to the Treasury’s own calculations, if we legalised cannabis today, we would save $1,200,000,000 over the course of the next three Budgets, primarily through not having to fund the Police and “Justice” Systems to piss all that money up the wall on persecuting medicinal cannabis users. So it makes no sense at all for Labour to cry about a shortage of money when it’s wasting incredible sums on enforcing a law that the New Zealand people don’t want.

A study conducted in Colorado from last month has shown that even if one accounts for the increases in social costs that come in the wake of legalisation, there is still a large net gain to the economy. Moreover, “The researchers found no evidence that legal cannabis contributed to increased homelessness or increased youth use of marijuana.”

There are other costs to cannabis prohibition that don’t fall into the $400,000,000 of damages. By withholding a widely-recognised exit drug from people struggling with opiate addiction, we are literally killing the most vulnerable New Zealanders. Studies of American states that have liberalised their cannabis laws have shown that, given the choice between opiates or cannabis, many people with severe pain disorders prefer to use cannabis. This has led to thousands fewer deaths from opiate overdoses.

It’s absolutely insane that our school buildings are falling into disrepair, our hospitals have mold on the walls, and that our rape crisis centres are being closed down, all because of a lack of funding, when we’re wasting over a billion dollars every electoral cycle on cannabis prohibition. If the Labour Party were any less neoliberal than the National Party they replaced, they would open an honest discussion on the subject with the stated intention of legalising cannabis as Colorado did in 2012.

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Lies Are Far More Toxic Than Drugs Ever Could Be

Illegal drugs are illegal, so we are told, because they harm the brain. Drugs such as cannabis are apparently toxic enough to cause brain damage in those who use them, rendering them mentally defective and often permanently so. One notable thing harms the brain more than cannabis though – lies.

The brain is an extremely plastic organ, and it has a number of defences against injury and poisoning, notably the blood-brain barrier which prevents poisons reaching the brain from the main blood supply (contrary to popular belief, smoking cannabis doesn’t cause psychoactive molecules to enter the brain directly through the lungs). It’s a terrible idea to mistreat your brain, but the fact is that the brain can deal with a lot.

The human mind is also extremely plastic, but, also like the brain, there are circumstances in which it is not. Under these circumstances, suffering can cause part of the mind to solidify so that it fixates on a certain belief or impression. This is very common in the case of trauma, because there is a clear biological imperative to learn quickly to avoid it.

A great example of this is how a religious upbringing often leads to people who hate religion with a passion. It is traumatic to be subjected to the heavily guilt and shame-based psychological manipulation that is a cornerstone of many religions (particularly the Abrahamic ones). Many women and homosexuals grow up hating themselves because of religious abuse, and if/when they realise as adults that this abuse was unnecessary, they come to hate the culture that abused them.

When people are told that, for example, male infant gential mutilation is a good thing, or that Johnny from down the street is going to hell forever because his family are the wrong denomination, they learn to hate and fear. When these people grow up and become adults, and realise that they now need Viagra because of lost penile sensitivity from the mutilation in infancy, the natural response is to hate the religious and anyone who claims to speak for the spiritual.

Perhaps the most disgusting, harmful and shameless set of lies are those stemming from the War on Drugs that the Government is conducting against us. These lies have been destructive in two major ways. Not only have they obscured the truth about the medicinal value of the cannabis plant, but they have also eroded public trust in institutions that society relies on to function.

For instance, many people who distrust and despise Police officers do so because they had a Police officer come to their school and lie to them about the alleged negative effects of cannabis use. It’s distressing to have an authority figure and representative of the state come and lie to you in order to justify their War on Drugs, and doubly so when you have family members who benefit from the medicinal use of cannabis, as many people do.

Many people have similar feelings towards, psychiatrists, who have also been willing tools in the Government’s war against drug-using members of its own population (i.e. us). It’s an awful feeling to be told, by a supposed mental health authority, that cannabis only causes psychosis and brain damage, while also being aware of the reality that medicinal cannabis is helpful for a range of psychiatric conditions – a reality that is becoming ever more apparent as research progresses.

It’s hard to overstate the amount of psychological damage that such actions cause. Many of the students who see a Police officer lying to them about cannabis – like the patients who hear a doctor lying about cannabis – come to lose trust in all authority figures. This makes it harder for the Police to find witnesses to crimes, because any witness who also happens to be a cannabis user will not want to volunteer their contact details, and it makes it harder for psychiatrists to convince patients to take medicines that do benefit them, because the patients suspect that the doctor is lying.

Much of the antagonism that Police officers face on a daily basis is a consequence of the lies that their authority upholds by virtue of upholding the drug laws. In the Netherlands, where these lies are not told (at least, not about cannabis), relations between the Police and their communities are much warmer. Dutch people don’t have to worry about the insult of getting arrested from using or cultivating a medicinal plant, and so they have little reason to see Police officers as enemies.

Another extremely damaging set of lies relates to the “Wir schaffen es!” mentality of Angela Merkel’s Christian Democrats with regard to the hundreds of thousands of allegedly Syrian refugees that have poured into Germany in recent years. We were told they would integrate, work, learn the language, pay taxes, abide local laws, but these promises turned out to be lies also.

They should have told us the truth about all of these things. Lies generalise, so that when a person suffers trauma from believing one they learn to distrust not only the person who told the lie, but also any other people who belong to groups that the liar also belonged to. And so, one doctor lying about cannabis one day leads to a parent refusing that doctor’s advice to vaccinate their children on another day.

The real danger for the West is that authority figures have told so many lies now, and for so long, that no Westerner has cause to trust any authority at all any more. If the masses decide that religious, political, academic, scientific and business authorities are all just liars, they will be primed for the coming of a demagogue and the catastrophes that demagogues bring with them.

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